Voices from Russia

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Вечная ему память. Reader John Richard Daeunhauer: Orthodox Christian and Poet

00 Dauenhauers. 22.08.14

A note to my readers… anything that you see on this blogsite, you can post on yours… I don’t believe in suing people, puffing myself up, or trying to steal credit that’s not mine to steal. We’re all in this together…


00 John Richard Daeunhauer. 23.08.14

Dick and Nora earlier this year, in May…


Reader John Richard Daeuenhauer wasn’t only a scholar and preserver of Tlingit language and literacy. He was a faithful Orthodox Christian and Church Reader who attended services, received sacraments, served on his parish council, and was on the St Herman Seminary Board. One of his many legacies is his poetry, which fuses Orthodox theology with creative expression and interactions with the Alaskan landscape and people. Daeunhauer’s writings and poetry are full of the themes of personal transfiguration, death, and resurrection in Christ. The Orthodox faith helped shape his worldview; his essay The Spiritual Epiphany of Aleut clearly expressed that. Reader John showed an abiding interest in the Orthodox teaching of theosis, the gradual process of human beings becoming “partakers of the divine nature” (1 Peter 1.4) and growing in the likeness of God. He wrote:

The potential for divinity is inseparable from the potential for humanity, because, as Jesus teaches in the Gospel according to St Luke (17.21) that the Kingdom of God is within us and doesn’t come visibly in the form of a geographic place. Likewise, St John the Theologian repeats a theme throughout the Fourth Gospel that we all have the potential of being born as children of God (1.12-13) and that unless we undergo a spiritual rebirth or enlightenment… a spiritual coming alive… we can’t see the Kingdom of God (3.3-8). Conversely, the act or experience of enlightenment reveals the Kingdom of God.

Orthodox Alaska

January 1979, p. 35   

This quest for spiritual rebirth and regeneration certainly was a major theme in Dauenhauer’s life and work. As a faithful Orthodox Christian, Reader John sought to be personally transformed and transfigured by Jesus Christ and the life of the Church. Through personal rebirth, not only do we see the Kingdom of God (even in this life), but we become truly human. It’s only in relationship to God that we can become human beings.  Reader John’s love, humour, and kindness show that he had truly become a new creature in Christ.

Reader John often meditated and wrote on death and mortality in the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. Now, he’s personally made that passage from death to life that he prayed about for many years.  His unpublished poetry collection Doxologies has two beautiful poems on Pascha, which express his belief in life after death and the unique way in which Orthodox services link the Church on earth with the Church in heaven. In these poems, the liturgical worship of the Church mirrors and reflects cosmic worship and transformation of all of God’s Creation. As we pray for Reader John, Norah, and family, his poetry can help us experience the Empty Tomb and the Light of Christ’s Holy Resurrection. They form a lasting legacy to Reader John’s abiding faith and hope in Christ. We believe that Reader John is now experiencing the heavenly cosmic Liturgy of which he wrote so convincingly. May His memory be eternal!

Вечная ему память

undated (after 19 August 2014)

The Diocese of Alaska



Friday, 22 August 2014

A Partnership of Language and Love: Reflecting on the Life of Dick Dauenhauer

00 Dauenhauers. 22.08.14

Nora and Dick Dauenhauer at St Nicholas Russian Orthodox Church


Russian Orthodox funeral services are pending for former Alaska poet laureate Richard Dauenhauer who died on Tuesday. Dauenhauer had worked in many areas, including poetry, translation, and teaching. He was also the husband of Tlingit scholar and Alaska writer laureate Nora Marks Dauenhauer. For more than 40 years, they had a partnership of marriage and scholarship. In the early 1970s, Dick Dauenhauer taught folklore at Alaska Methodist University

, that’s when he met student Nora Marks. Her friend Rosita Worl, now president of Sealaska Heritage Institute, was also a student. Worl remembered, “She and Dick just hit it off. I think they had the same kind of sense of humour as I recall. That was when their work started”.  Dauenhauer and Marks married on 28 November 1973, she was 15 years older than he was. World told us, “They became quite a team. He had the technical knowledge of languages and stories and he was an educator, and she had all the traditional knowledge of Tlingit and it was a great combination”.

Born in Syracuse NY in 1942, Dick Dauenhauer was a linguist for most of his life. He earned degrees in Slavic Languages and German. He translated poetry from Russian, Classical Greek, Swedish, and Finnish. In 1969, he moved to Alaska to teach at Alaska Methodist University (now, Alaska Pacific University). Dauenhauer and Marks spent a few years at the Alaska Native Language Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. In 1983, they moved to Juneau. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, they worked at Sealaska Heritage Foundation in Juneau, now known as Sealaska Heritage Institute. They co-authored Tlingit language books and developed teaching materials. With the publication of Beginning Tlingit, Worl credits the couple for popularising the language’s written form, saying, “What he and Nora did was to bring the orthography into everyday use. They made that available to the students of the language”.

They collected hundreds of recordings documenting Tlingit history, culture, and language. They co-edited a four-volume series, Classics of Tlingit Oral Literature, and received American Book Awards for two volumes. Juneau playwright and screenwriter Dave Hunsaker based his play Battles of Fire and Water on the tri-lingual volume, The Battles of Sitka, 1802 and 1804. He noted, “However, really, the book Tlingit Oratory was, to me, stunning. By that time, the Tlingit had adopted me. I lived here in Juneau for 30 years and I felt like I knew a lot about the culture and when that book came out, I realised I didn’t know anything about the culture”. Hunsaker said that the Dauenhauers revealed the complex and poetic oral tradition of the Tlingit culture through the translated speeches of Tlingit elders, “They recognised that these aren’t charming campfire Indian lore stories; these were world literature. They treated them as world literature. The way they rendered them, and the way that they’ve been published so we can all now read them forever, by God, they are world literature”.

Between their joint books and separate volumes of creative writing, Dick and Nora Dauenhauer produced an abundant body of work. Nevertheless, their partnership held much more. Hunsaker related, “It’s one of the great love affairs of any life that I know anything about. They never got past the hand holding stage”. Hunsaker was friends with the Dauenhauers for about 40 years. Throughout that time, he said that they always acted like newlyweds, “In spite of age difference, in spite of their incredibly different backgrounds, I just saw them be always fascinated with each other”.

In 2005, Dick Dauenhauer became President’s Professor of Alaska Native Languages and Culture at the University of Alaska Southeast. Chancellor John Pugh said that the couple spearheaded the creation of the programme, “They just were really the heart and soul of the Alaska Native Language programme”. Pugh said that up to that time, other UA faculty members had studied the language, but the Dauenhauers wanted to make sure that people spoke it. Pugh pointed up, “That was the real change in terms of not being an academic language, but trying to actually think about how we might have the speakers that we presently have and have them really be able to transfer the language to younger people who’d carry the language forward, so that it could be a living language, continue as a living language”. Assistant Professor Lance Twitchell now heads the Alaska Native Languages degree programme at UAS. He said that it’s been an honour to know and work with Dick and Nora, “and see how they operate just as poets and artists and linguists and anthropologists and just wonderful human beings. I had the chance to tell both, ‘If I’m one-tenth of what you are, I’m pretty happy with the way my life went’”.

When Dick Dauenhauer passed away on 19 August at the age of 72, he and Nora were nearing the end of a multi-decade project… a collection of Tlingit Raven stories.

22 August 2014

Lisa Phu

Alaska Public Media


Friday, 16 September 2011

16 September 2011. Ignorant Konvertsy Raising Clueless Brouhaha Over Church’s Correct Environmental Stance in Alaska

Here’s a typical member of the konvertsy internet commentariat… “Isn’t Free Enterprise grand! I have my McMansion and my Cadillac Escalade SUV… my gated community is so CLEAN… the race goes to the swiftest, y’know…”


It’s sad to say that the rightwing konvertsy teabaggers are throwing another ignorant and childish tantrum. Read this:


Note this:

The Orthodox Church, formerly the Russian Orthodox Church, has had a long presence in Alaska, particularly in the rural parts of the state. The first church was established in 1794 by Orthodox monks in what was then the Russian territory of Kodiak. With increasing political turmoil in Russia, the church grew and prospered in Alaska, particularly in its rural areas. One of the strongest voices for rural Alaska in the church is [Fr Michael] Oleksa, who was 30 when he was assigned to rural Kodiak in 1970. Since moving to the state, he’s been a tireless advocate for Alaska Native culture and for environmental justice, authoring several books on the subject. For his efforts, he has received numerous awards from all sorts of state agencies and from the Alaska Federation of Natives. Oleksa and the church have long been against the Pebble mine, even before hooking up with Gillam. In fact, it was a resolution that the Orthodox Church in America‘s Diocese of Alaska passed at its annual state-wide gathering in 2009 that attracted Gillam’s attention, according to Oleksa. It did not mention Pebble specifically, but it blessed all “development” that would enhance the quality of life in villages. It also withheld any such blessing from “development” that seriously threatened to poison or pollute the lakes and rivers, which the “Church and its largely Alaska Native membership considers holy and sacred”.


There’s nothing untoward in considering the environment sacred… its God’s creation! Why do you think that we bless rivers and streams, chop holes in the ice, and jump into them at Epiphany? Earth to konvertsy… get a life and get informed! Our obligation as stewards of the rivers, streams, forests, and countryside is God-given… our leaders have said so, but, of course, the ignorant konvertsy don’t know that. Their tantrums mean that they oppose Patriarch Bartholomew Archontonis, the “Green Patriarch”… the United Nations Environment Programme named him a “Champion of the Earth”… for good reason. See these:




An excerpt from the video The Green Patriarch…


They oppose Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, who decried the environmental catastrophe in the Russian countryside and issued calls for Orthodox to protect their natural heritage. See these:

http://rt.com/news/russian-patriarch-goes-green/ (In Russian terms, when His Holiness attacks “Liberalism”, he attacks rightwing “conservative” extremism (such as Libertarianism), not Social Democracy… His Holiness supports Socialism and Social Justice wholeheartedly)


The konvertsy filth wants to make Alaska into another Nikel! You’ve never heard of Nikel? Here’s what Wikipedia had to say about it:

The town is linked to the Norilsk Nickel plant nearby, which employs many of its citizens, which causes grave environmental and health concerns for the population. The nickel smelter, which has been an eyesore in Norway–Russia relations for decades due to its extreme pollution levels, usually deposits its sulphur dioxide fumes to the south of the town where the countryside is a brown moonscape of bald hills, barren of plant life for kilometres around. In the summertime, the toxic fumes, which for the rest of the year rarely blow northwards towards the town, occasionally do just that, making breathing difficult and even burning holes in people’s umbrellas.



THIS is what the konvertsy want… it’s the invisible hand of the Free Market, after all. Don’t forget, the konvertsy aren’t really Christians, they’re nasty Libertarian Nihilist unbelievers of the worst possible sort. They bow low before the altar of Omnipotent, All-powerful, and Invincible Mammon and willingly burn incense before it… Mammon is God and Ayn Rand is his Prophet! All hail to the Epic Heroes Rick Perry, Paul Ryan, and Rush Limbaugh, of the Fellowship of the Almighty Dollar! Bozhe! Do save us from such blasphemous delusion. They’re nothing but modern-day Gong Farmers. In short, the present clueless brouhaha on the internet is yet more proof that the konvertsy not only aren’t of us… they never were, and they’re incapable of being such. Kaufft nicht bei Reardon, Freeman, Dreher, Mattingly, Whiteford, and Cone… they worship the demonic Hobbesian delusions of the New Christian Right (the reject the true moderate heritage of the Old Republican Party), and that’s a fact (their motto is, “Pecunia non olet… Money doesn’t stink”).

The sooner that we’re rid of this semi-Sectarian pestilence, the better. They’re spitting on the icon of Christ… you can have rightwing konvertsy delusions or you can have Christ… which do you want?

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo

Friday 16 September 2011

Albany NY

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